The Real Reason Why Dave Bautista Calls Marvel Exit a "Relief"
“It wasn’t all pleasant. It was hard playing that role.”
Dave Bautista is saying goodbye to the role that made his acting career—Drax the Destroyer in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. Bautista went through months of grueling auditions for Disney executives in order to get the part, something he says made him emotional when it finally happened. "I had to pull over because I was crying so hard," Bautista told GQ. "I turned right back around and walked into my house shaking to tell my wife I had gotten the role, and we were both standing there freaking out." After six movies and a holiday special, Bautista says he is relieved to leave the character behind—here's why.
While Bautista is grateful for the opportunities that have resulted from playing Drax, he wants to focus on more serious cinema. Bautista is particularly passionate about working with Blade Runner 2049 and Dune director Denis Villeneuve again. "If I could be a number one [on the callsheet] with Denis, I would do it for free," he says. "I think that's how I could find out how good I could be. He brings out the best in me. He sees me in a different light, sees the performer that I want to be. That might be how I solve the puzzle."
Bautista says he is ready to move on from the Marvel character. "I'm so grateful for Drax. I love him," he says. "But there's a relief [that it's over]. It wasn't all pleasant. It was hard playing that role. The makeup process was beating me down. And I just don't know if I want Drax to be my legacy—it's a silly performance, and I want to do more dramatic stuff."
Bautista says he has developed a genuine love for acting. "I'm obsessed with it," he says. "It's this puzzle that I can't figure out. You don't know if it's right, but sometimes it feels right. I don't get those moments a lot, but every once in a while I do. And to me, there's nothing like it. It's a natural high. It's an addiction."
Bautista is becoming an actor to be reckoned with, says Glass Onion director Rian Johnson. "I keep telling all my filmmaker friends that someone is going to give Dave a real dramatic lead role in a movie, and they're going to look like a genius."
Bautista says he doesn't care about being a big movie star—he wants to be a better actor. "I don't live a great big glamorous life," he says. "I live here in Tampa. I don't care about the spotlight, I don't care about fame. I just want to be a better actor. I want respect from my peers. I don't need accolades—I really don't, man. It's about the experience, about knowing that I accomplished something."